Namibia’s president won $5m African leadership award
March 2, Mambibia: Namibia’s outgoing president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has won the $5m African leadership prize awarded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for boosting governance, media freedom and human rights in the southern African country.
Pohamba, 79, was a founding member of Namibia’s ruling party, South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo), and was held as a political prisoner during South Africa’s colonial rule over the country. He was whipped in public for advocating for an independent Namibia.
Pohamba is only the fourth winner of the $5 million annual prize, launched in 2007 with the aim of encouraging and rewarding good governance across a continent where the likes of Nelson Mandela, who bowed out gracefully from office remain the exception.
“President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the prize committee,” said Salim Ahmed Salim, Tanzania’s former prime minister and chairman of the prize committee, which announced the winner at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pohamba was elected in 2004 and reelected in 2009. He is the first acting president to win the prize, but he has said he will hand power to prime minister Hage Geingob, who won November’s presidential election, later this month.
The Oslo Times